The outgoing news director of the BBC has been accused in a letter written by Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl of making “highly inappropriate comments” about the Jewish communal organization in a meeting held last week, the UK Jewish News reported.
The letter addressed to BBC Director General Tim Davie urged him to take disciplinary measures against Fran Unsworth for comments made during the meeting, which van der Zyl alleged were a “not very subtle way of saying that ‘you lot are all the same.’”
The Board of Deputies was meeting with Davie and Unsworth to talk about the complaints over the BBC’s coverage of the bus of Jewish teens celebrating Hanukkah in November that was attacked by an antisemitic youth mob.
Van der Zyl wrote in the letter that she and other Board of Deputy members present at the meeting “were extremely taken aback by the comments made by Fran Unsworth during the meeting; her false accusation that we had accused the BBC of ‘antisemitism’ was offensive and damaging; we noted with regret that you did not contradict her.”
She said that Unsworth’s “follow-up, citing the actions of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, was astonishing.”
“The Board of Deputies had absolutely nothing to do with this list, produced by an American-based organization, and has not promoted it in any way. We are not collectively responsible for this action,” van der Zyl said.
She was referring to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s “Global Antisemitism Top Ten List” that ranked the BBC third behind Iran and Hamas for being “guilty of several incidences of antisemitism during the past year,” reasoning that “people around the world trust the BBC and rely on it for truthful reporting of world events.”
“To cite this as evidence that we had accused the BBC of antisemitism suggests that Ms Unsworth also paints completely different groups with the same brush,” she said. “At the very best, this is completely at odds with her claims of the need for accuracy from the BBC. At the worst, this was a not very subtle way of saying that ‘you lot are all the same.’ I would like to know what action you are going to take to discipline Ms Unsworth for her highly inappropriate comments.”